Nipple reconstruction is a surgical procedure that involves reconstructing a new nipple or nipple-areola complex areola using surrounding healthy skin tissue after your breast has healed from mastectomy and breast reconstruction. The procedure involves making a star-shaped incision to form a new nipple and then adding a tattoo to shade in the new areola.
There are many methods to reconstruct your nipple. Invivo Aesthetics will decide on the best possible plan based on the condition of your breast. Some of these methods include:
- Skin Flap Reconstruction: In this method, small skin flaps from your reconstructed breast are folded and stitched together to construct a mound that forms your new nipple. The skin is shaped to accord the nipple an upraised look in comparison to the breast mound. Extra fat, skin, or synthetic fillers may be used to give the nipple a more elevated look.
- Nipple and areola reconstruction: In this method which is also known as Hammond flap larger skin flaps from your reconstructed breast are used to create both nipple and areola complex. creation of the nipple projection is similar to other methods but the line of areola is also created at the same operation.
- Nipple Sharing/Autologous Graft: In this method, a section of the nipple from your unaffected breast is taken and grafted into your new breast to form a new nipple. This is only done if the nipple from the unaffected breast is large enough to be extracted and grafted.
- Medical Tattooing: An individual may choose to get medical tattooing done after a nipple is reconstructed to achieve a natural-looking nipple and areola. Women who are averse to undergoing additional surgery for nipple reconstruction may opt to have only medical tattooing; however, it is important to know that the nipple is not elevated in this situation.
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Frequently asked questions
How is Nipple Reconstruction Surgery Performed?
Most often, the nipple is constructed from a flap of skin on the top of the breast, such as what is called the C-V and skate flaps. These procedures can be performed as an outpatient. The scar-based modified C-V flap can be performed for nipple reconstruction and scar revision at the same time.
Reconstruction of the areola is performed using a full-thickness circular skin graft from a different location on the patient’s body, for instance, the bra roll, a C-section scar, or even sometimes the inner thigh. Using a skin graft allows the areola to maintain a distinct topography from the rest of the breast, and it also enables the physician to hide some of the scars left by the mastectomy.
Usually, nipple reconstruction surgery is the final stage of breast reconstruction. Chemotherapy is usually completed before breast reconstruction is commenced. Most doctors want the patient to be fully recovered from their mastectomy and effects of chemotherapy before beginning the reconstruction process.
While nipple reconstruction surgery is considered to be permanent, the newly created nipples may flatten a bit after a length of time, and tattoos can fade somewhat. Additional procedures down the road to maintain the projection or color are not unusual, and are happily performed by our Invivo Aesthetics surgical team – to keep your breast and nipples looking beautiful and natural.
An outpatient procedure. You will be sent home on pain medicine and antibiotics. You will need to be off work for a few days. You should not do any strenuous activity for at least 2 weeks following this procedure.
- Reduction in puffiness of the nipple
- Correction of asymmetry
- Improvement of the appearance of long nipples that droop
- Creation of a more aesthetically pleasing nipple shape and size
- Restoring nipples affected by breastfeeding
- New, lovelier appearance to your nipples and areolae
- Improved self-confidence and self-esteem